On The Job – Jennifer Gange

Jennifer Gange

Outdoor sensory play equipment designer

Jennifer Gange of Pelham is the founder and CEO of Earth Craft Creations, which builds custom children’s outdoor sensory play equipment for home and school settings.

Explain your job and what it entails.

Earth Craft Creations builds amazing outdoor sensory toys for home and school settings, [like] mud kitchens [and] oversized acrylic framed easels. … Working one-on-one with customers to determine the best fit for their needs and wants is something … I really enjoy. … I’m also able to work with schools to create custom sensory play stations for their specific outdoor spaces. I love the creative process involved in helping to see their visions come to life.

How long have you had this job?

I launched Earth Craft Creations almost two years ago during the early-ish months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

My love of playing outdoors and a predisposition for very involved daydreaming.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I needed all my prior life experiences to get me to this point. In my former work life, I spent years working in different roles with children and adults with disabilities. From these exceptional people, I saw the immeasurable value of living in the moment and the wisdom of finding joy in simplicity. I also became familiar with the multitude of benefits on well-being and all areas of development with engaging in sensory-based recreation activities. For a time, I [worked] for my father Anthony in his insurance business. … While working for my father under his very organized office manager, I was able to learn and practice some of this using record keeping and billing systems that would later allow me to create key elements of the systems I use now to manage the daily operations of my own business. … In addition to my prior work experiences, my formal education is in social work, education and counseling psychology. Different pieces of all of this aid me in the different roles I currently fill.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Most days I wear leggings, my favorite L.L. Bean sweatshirt and sneakers.

What was it like starting during the pandemic?

Amazing. Like many people, I think the changing circumstances we were all faced with brought some things into focus and perspective, including the idea for this business, which I had been working on for a year prior to launching.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

I can’t really answer this. A lot of the enjoyment I have found in this career change adventure has been in learning as I go. I’m not someone who needs to have all the answers before starting a project. Inspiration, flexible thinking, good work habits, a bit of direction and faith in the creative process are more important to me.

What was the first job you ever had?

My first job was scooping ice cream.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

A dear friend of mine, an amazing woman and business owner I worked for while I was in college, told me, ‘It’s better to work smart than to work hard.’ At this point, I’m certainly working hard, but I like to think I’m also working smart. At least in overseeing an entire operation, I can now say I know exactly what she meant by that.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
As far as fiction goes, I adore all of Jodi Picoult’s writing and am a fan of historical fiction. I enjoy nonfiction as well, in particular studies in spirituality, religion, culture, positive psychology and neurodiversity.
Favorite movie: The Last Unicorn
Favorite music: Fleetwood Mac, Smashing Pumpkins and Snoop Dogg are a few favorites.
Favorite food: Thai food and ice cream.
Favorite thing about NH: I love that we are surrounded with so much beautiful nature. Walking in the woods or being by the ocean are instantly healing and uplifting.

Featured photo: Jennifer Gange. Courtesy photo.

Treasure Hunt 22/06/02

Dear Donna,

Picked this up last year, and one of the dolls is missing. Does it have any value the way it is?

Thank you for any information.

K

Dear K,

It’s tough to give a value on items with damage, missing pieces etc. I do think, though, being a Cabbage Patch toy it still might have value.

Your little box of Cabbage figurines manufactured in 1984 is by a company out of Georgia. If complete and in good condition the values run from $25 to $50.

Knowing that it falls into a very collectible market, just the figures individually could hold value to others missing one as well. You just have work ahead of you to find your missing one.

My suggestion would be to look at thrift stores, flea markets and online. Good luck to you finding your treasure and thanks for sharing with us.

Donna

Kiddie Pool 22/06/02

Family fun for the weekend

More SEE

The SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St. in Manchester; see-sciencecenter.org) is open seven days a week through Labor Day. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission costs $10 for all guests 3 and up and advance reservations are recommended. And plan now for SEE’s Kickoff to Summer event June 20 through June 26, which will feature three daily shows with yo-yo performer Brett Ooch and hands-on activities, according to the website.

Fun for all

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St. in Dover; childrens-museum.org, 742-2022) will hold “Exploring Our Way: Sensory Friendly Playtime” on Tuesday, June 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. “These monthly, low-sensory events are designed for children with autism spectrum or sensory processing disorders allowing them to explore the museum along with their families without the noise, crowds, and stimulation of a typical open day,” the website said. Reserve a spot online in advance. Admission costs $11 for everyone over 1 year old ($9 for 65+).

Kids on stage

The Palace Youth Theatre will presentOliver! Jr.on Tuesday, June 7, and Wednesday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588). Tickets cost $15 for adults.

Summer of outdoor exploring!

If you’re planning some nature adventures this summer, check out NH Fish and Game’s website, wildlife.state.nh.us, specifically the “Connect Kids to Wildlife” section (under the “Education” tab). In addition to information on wildlife programs, the site has some fun printable PDFs to take with you on a hike. One is a pocket guide to animal tracks but it’s likely most kids will be all about the guide that’s all about poop. The “Wildlife Scat” printout offers a guide to figuring out what animal made the poop you might find out in the woods — or in your yard.

For the water-logged garden

Plants that thrive in wet or moist places

I like to say that plants can be as fussy as a 2-year-old facing a plate of overcooked broccoli. Plants know what they want, and will not behave the way you want them to unless you accommodate their wishes. Today let’s look at a few that love wet feet.

First, please understand that plants need oxygen but do not get it from their leaves. No; they get oxygen from their roots. Some plants have evolved ways to get their oxygen despite sitting in water-logged soil while others quickly drown or develop root rot. If you have heavy clay soil that holds water, be sure to pick plants that can tolerate wetness.

I have a small stream running through my property, so much of my land stays quite moist, even in dry summers. In spring I often have standing water between raised beds in the vegetable garden. Yet I have plenty of wonderful flowers that thrive here. Here are a dozen I like, arranged roughly according to bloom time, from early spring to late fall.

1. The drumstick primrose (Primula denticulata) blooms in early spring in hues of blue to red or white. Then comes P. kisoana, which spreads by root in either wet or dry places. Last, starting now, there is the candelabra primrose (P. japonica) which sets out a series of blossoms on an increasingly tall stem over a month of bloom time. All love growing under old apple trees in dappled shade.

2. Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica). I have these blooming now by the hundred everywhere I look, sun or shade. These lovely low-growing blue (or sometimes pink or white) flowers self-sow bountifully. They prefer rich moist soil and will do well in sun or shade. Because they come back from seeds so easily we let them bloom, then often pull them out like weeds to plant something else.

3. ‘Thalia’ daffodil. Most bulbs require good drainage, but ‘Thalia’ does fine in soggy soil. She is nearly white, and each bulb can produce three flowers at once. She blooms with the forget-me-nots. Order now for fall planting.

4. Globeflower (Trollius spp.). An early summer bloomer, it does best in part sun and moist soil, but will also grow in ordinary garden soil and in full shade. The blossoms are an inch or so across and bright yellow. Blooms in late May to June, but may sometimes re-bloom in the fall.

5. Japanese iris (Iris ensata). These beauties will bloom in standing water or in damp soil. They are like the Siberian iris, but their falls (petals) lay back almost flat. Blues and purples. Early summer.

6. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). These flowers are native plants that bloom on 3-foot stalks in fire engine red! I’ve seen them growing on the banks of the Connecticut River, but they do well in moist soil and full sun in my garden. Will tolerate some dryness, but prefer wet. I avoid modern hybrids that are other colors but not as hardy.

7. Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Related to ordinary milkweed, this likes moist soil and full sun. Unlike the wild one, this does not send runners out and spread by root. Mine get 3 to 5 feet tall and come in pink or white. Readily available at garden centers.

8. Astilbe (Astilbe spp.) These flowers come in red, pink and white and various heights. They can survive in drier soil in shade, but really love moist, rich soil and full sun. Good cut flower with an almost woody stem.

9. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.). There are many species, some of which spread by root while others do not. It is the very best perennial for supporting pollinators. Mid-summer to fall. ‘Fireworks’ is my favorite.

10. Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum). This is a native plant that thrives on stream beds and swampy areas that has been domesticated. A cultivar known as ‘Gateway’ is the best but gets to be over 6 feet tall. ‘Baby Joe’ is supposed to be a smaller version, but I haven’t tried it yet. Pollinators love this plant, which blooms in fall with pinky-purple blossoms.

11. Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii). Gorgeous tall stems loaded with pink flowers shaped like helmets – or turtle heads. Will do sun or shade, loves moisture but will grow in ordinary gardens, too. Bumblebees force themselves inside, and seem to growl in there at times. Great cut flower. Fall.

12. ‘Henry Eiler’ rudbeckia. One of the latest flowers I grow. Petals are distinctive: They have space between each one, like missing teeth. Tall, often 6 feet or more. Needs to be staked early, or perhaps cut back in early June to reduce height. Blooms past frost. Full sun, rich moist soil.

If you have a clay-based soil that is sticky when you rub it, wet, between your fingers, you would do well to add compost to the soil before planting any of these lovely flowers. Yes, they like the moisture clay holds, but compost — a shovel or more mixed into the planting hole — will improve their performance.

I’m pleased to report that our new young dog, Rowan, is learning to stay out of garden beds. He’s an 18-month-old golden/Irish setter mix with lots of energy. But so far, he hasn’t dug up any plants.

Featured photo: Pollinators are attracted to Swamp milkweed by color and scent. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Meet the makers

Watch a magic show and turn bottle caps into sea turtles at the NH Maker Fest

By Kelsi Maddock

listings@hippopress.com

Makers in all media — from robotics to arts to food — are invited to the NH Maker Fest, hosted by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, on Saturday, June 4.

The Maker Fest, which celebrates its 10th anniversary, describes itself in the Maker Fest Manual as, “a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. … Fest visitors can spend the day discovering new things from the Makers either through hands-on activities, workshops, presentations or performances.”

“I think this annual event is important to have a place for people to showcase the things that they love. The whole thing about the maker movement is really built around community and sharing, as much as it’s about creating your own things,” said Wayne Moulton, who describes himself as a purveyor of magical memories.

Moulton and co-owner Kali, who is also his wife, will represent their STEAM enrichment business, Sages Entertainment, by walking around with their balloon puppet, a bird named Leo, and performing an on-stage magic show. Moulton participated in the Maker Fest from the beginning.

Multimedia artist Lindsey Castellon volunteered on the Fest’s planning committee and collaborated with the museum as an AmeriCorps VISTA member before she hosted her own booth as owner of Angry Gato Designs.

“Right now, I specialize in digital illustration, so in that realm I actually am able to apply it to a bunch of different things. My most popular items right now are my stickers,” said Castellon. “I’ve been a maker ever since I can remember. When I was a kid, I would just make stuff out of popsicle sticks, and I taught myself how to sew using my mom’s old sewing machine, and that was my preferred form of play.”

The makers encourage attendees to combine their natural passion for arts and sciences to make a positive change in the world.

Founder of Plastic Recycled Nathan Gray debuts at Maker Fest to do just that by refurbishing plastic waste into practical products, taking a “three-pronged approach to the global plastic waste crisis,” where those three prongs are to educate the community, collect plastics in the local and surrounding area, and refurbish the plastic into practical products.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to work [with] the museum,” Gray said. “We’ve already done some legwork to create a bottle cap drive so people can actually start the process of thinking about plastic waste and how they can properly steward their plastic waste from home by collecting and cleaning their bottle caps and bringing them to the Maker Fest. With their bottle caps, they will be able to make keepsake, take-home sea turtles.”

The museum, in collaboration with Gray, will be collecting bottle caps before, during and after the Maker Fest to go toward the recycled construction of a park bench.

“We’re actually providing a bench so they can show it off as well,” Gray said.

Michael Roundy, co-founder and co-director of the Lowell Kinesthetic Sculpture Race, plans to display a sculpture as part of his presentation as well.

“The beauty of a sculpture is they can actually picture themselves on the sculpture, driving this thing,” Roundy said. “They’re, like, car-sized kind of vehicles, so there’s an impact of having the human-sized element that’s there.”

Roundy, who has previously participated in the Fest, returns to promote the race, which takes place in September. The race, inspired by similar events hosted in California and Maryland, encourages participants to combine technical construction with visual appeal to create a human-powered, sculptural vehicle capable of racing across multiple terrains, such as mud and water.

“Everyone is a maker in some way or another,” said Neva Cole, the museum’s communications director. “The fest is always such a fun time, and we’ve made it as accessible as we possibly can. It’s by donation; it’s a suggested $5 per person donation, but that is a suggestion.… Just come on by, because we don’t want anyone not to visit and not to participate because of financial situations.”

10th Annual NH Maker Fest
When: Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, 6 Washington St., Dover
Tickets: suggested donation of $5 per person at entry (the event will also feature food vendors)
More Info: childrens-museum.org/things-to-do/events/nh-maker-food-fest

Featured photo: Maker Fest. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 22/06/02

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

•​ Sculptures revealed: The 15th annual Nashua International Sculpture Symposium will conclude with a closing ceremony, open to the public, on Saturday, June 4, at 1 p.m. at the installation site, which is near the old bridge on Commercial Street in Nashua. This year’s artists — Anna Miller from Connecticut, Brent Howard from New Jersey and Corinna D’Schoto from Massachusetts — have spent the last few weeks working at the Picker Artist studios in Nashua to create three outdoor sculptures based on the theme of “Merriment” for permanent installation in the city. “This is all for the sake of the public, for accessible public art,” Jim Larson, the sculpture symposium’s artistic director, told the Hippo last month. “The art produced is not a luxury object that you would see in a gallery — it is everyday artwork that is impactful and powerful. [It shows] we need artwork in our life every day, like food.” A map of the existing sculpture sites, along with suggested walking and biking tour routes, is available at nashuasculpturesymposium.org.

•​ Broadway showcase: The Garrison Players present “Showstoppers: A Celebration”on Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, at 8 p.m. both days at the Garrison Players Community Arts Center (449 Roberts Road, Rollinsford). The evening will feature songs from Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals through the years, from 1949’s Kiss Me, Kate to 2017’s Dear Evan Hanson. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students. Visit garrisonplayers.org.

Manchester art fest
Save the date for the first annual Manchester Citywide Arts Festival, set for Monday, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 18. The weeklong celebration of the arts will feature performances, gallery openings, speakers, walking tours, live art-making and more throughout downtown Manchester, culminating in a free, family-friendly street fair on Hanover Street on Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18, which will include an arts market with booths by dozens of local artists and craftspeople, interactive art installations and experiences, live performances by local musicians and dancers, food vendors and more. A call for local artists to participate in the street fair arts market had an application deadline of June 1. Visit manchesterartsfest.com.

Graphite drawings: The New Hampshire Art Association presents the work of artist member Barbara Morse in two exhibitions. “Around Town” is on view now through June 17 in the NHAA’s gallery space at the Concord Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (49 S. Main St., Concord, concordnhchamber.com), and “Come In-To Focus” is on view now through June 30 in the gallery at Creative Framing Solutions (410 Chestnut St., Manchester, 320-5988), with an opening reception for the latter planned for Thursday, June 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. Morse’s work includes drawings done in graphite, with hints of color done in acrylic. “Working in graphite and sometimes adding a hint of color to attract attention to an area enhancing the entire image, no matter the level of labor intensity, I find joy and satisfaction watching a piece come to life before me,” Morse said in a press release from NHAA. Current gallery hours at Creative Framing Solutions are Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Current gallery hours at the Concord Chamber are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit nhartassociation.org or call 431-4230.

Painting night: Two Villages Art Society presents an exhibition, “Night Vision,” at its gallery at the Bates Building (846 Main St., Contoocook) now through June 18. It features a collection of paintings by Owen Krzyzaniak Geary that illustrate New Hampshire’s forests at nighttime. “My concern for the environment has always been central in my artistic pursuits,” the 25-year-old artist, who is originally from Hopkinton, said in a press release from the art society, adding that he wants his art to celebrate nature, “even those aspects of it that we often consider mysterious or threatening.” Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. Visit twovillagesart.org or call 413-210-4372.


ART

Exhibits

• “APPEAL OF THE REAL: 19TH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD” exhibition features photographs taken throughout the Mediterranean to record the ruins of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St., Manchester). On display now through June 12. Museum admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, $10 for students, $5 for youth ages 13 through 17 and is free for children age 12 and under and museum members. Current museum hours are Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Monday through Wednesday. Call 669-6144 or visit currier.org.

• “NATURE AT NIGHT: PAINTINGS BY OWEN KRZYZANIAK GEARY” Two Villages Art Society (846 Main St., Contoocook). On display now through June 18. Visit twovillagesart.org or call 413-210-4372.

• “WARHOL SCREEN TESTS” In the mid-1960s, American multimedia artist Andy Warhol had shot more than 400 short, silent, black-and-white films of his friends at his studio in New York City. Warhol referred to the films, which were unscripted and played in slow motion, as “film portraits” or “stillies.” The exhibition will feature 20 of those films, provided by the Andy Warhol Museum, in loops across four large-scale projections. The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St., Manchester). On display now through July 24. Museum admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, $10 for students, $5 for youth ages 13 through 17 and is free for children age 12 and under and museum members. Current museum hours are Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Monday through Wednesday. Call 669-6144 or visit currier.org.

• “ARGHAVAN KHOSRAVI” Artist’s surrealist paintings explore themes of exile, freedom and empowerment; center female protagonists; and allude to human rights issues, particularly those affecting women and immigrants. The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St., Manchester). On display now through Sept. 5. Museum admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, $10 for students, $5 for youth ages 13 through 17 and is free for children age 12 and under and museum members. Current museum hours are Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Monday through Wednesday. Call 669-6144 or visit currier.org.

• “THE PEOPLE’S SCULPTOR: THE LIFE AND WORKS OF JOHN ROGERS” Exhibit celebrates the art of American sculptor John Rogers, who came to Manchester in 1850, and explores the influence that Manchester had on Rogers’ life and work. Presented by the Manchester Historic Association. On view now through September. Millyard Museum (200 Bedford St., Manchester). Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $8 for adults, $6 for seniors age 62 and up and college students, $4 for youth ages 12 through 18, and is free for kids under age 12. Call 622-7531 or visit manchesterhistoric.org/millyard-museum.

• “WOOL: CONTEMPORARY FIBER ART EXHIBITION Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). June 4 through Sept. 2, with an opening reception on Sat., June 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Visit twiggsgallery.wordpress.com or call 975-0015.

• “PIXELS, WOOD, CLAY” Two Villages Art Society presents an exhibition of work by artists Tony Gilmore, Rick Manganello and Caren Helm. The Bates Building (846 Main St., Contoocook). Aug. 12 through Sept. 9. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. There will be an opening reception on Sat., Aug. 13, from noon to 2 p.m. Visit twovillagesart.org or call 413-210-4372.

ART ON MAIN The City of Concord and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce present a year-round outdoor public art exhibition in Concord’s downtown featuring works by professional sculptors. All sculptures will be for sale. Visit concordnhchamber.com/creativeconcord, call 224-2508 or email tsink@concordnhchamber.com.

Fairs and markets

CONCORD ARTS MARKET The juried outdoor artisan and fine art market runs one Saturday a month, June through October, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Market dates are June 11, July 30, Aug. 20, Sept. 17 and Oct. 15. Rollins Park, 33 Bow St., Concord. concordartsmarket.net. The first market will be held on Saturday, June 11. Visit concordartsmarket.net/summer-arts-market.html.

FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND CRAFT FESTIVAL There will be more than 100 artisan booths indoors and outdoors. Sat., June 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sun., June 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Deerfield Fairgrounds (34 Stage Road, Deerfield). Admission costs $8 for adults and covers both days. Youth age 13 and under get in for free. Visit castleberryfairs.com.

Tours

NASHUA PUBLIC ART AUDIO TOUR Self-guided audio tours of the sculptures and murals in downtown Nashua, offered via the Distrx app, which uses Bluetooth iBeacon technology to automatically display photos and text and provides audio descriptions at each stop on the tour as tourists approach the works of art. Each tour has 10 to 15 stops. Free and accessible on Android and iOS on demand. Available in English and Spanish. Visit downtownnashua.org/nashua-art-tour.

Workshops and classes

• “INTRO TO 3D PRINTING” Port City Makerspace (68 Morning St., Portsmouth). Wed., June 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $25 for members of the makerspace and $45 for nonmembers. Call 373-1002 or visit portcitymakerspace.com for more information.

THEATRE

Shows

CHILDREN OF THE GRIM Presented by Bitter Pill. Players’ Ring Theatre (105 Marcy St., Portsmouth). Now through June 5, with showtimes on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $28 for adults and $25 for seniors age 65 and up and students. Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test are required. Visit playersring.org or call 436-8123.

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL The Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester) presents. June 3 through June 26, with showtimes on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at noon. Tickets cost $25 to $46. Visit palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.

OLIVER! JR. The Palace Youth Theatre presents. Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester). Tues., June 7, and Wed., June 8, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 to $15. Visit palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.

•​ A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Seven Stages Shakespeare Company performs. Players’ Ring Theatre (105 Marcy St., Portsmouth). June 10 through June 19, with showtimes Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m., and an additional show on Sat., June 11, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $22 for seniors age 65 and up and students. Masks and proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test are required. Visit playersring.org or call 436-8123.

•​ SEUSSICAL JR. The Palace Teen Apprentice Company presents. Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester). Wed., June 15, and Thurs., June 16, at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 to $15. Visit palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.

•​ ANYTHING GOES The Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) presents. June 16 through July 23, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $32 to $52. Visit seacoastrep.org or call 433-4472.

MACBETH: A NECROMANTIC EXPERIENCE Cue Zero Theatre Co. presents. Derry Opera House (29 W. Broadway, Derry). Fri., June 17, and Sat., June 18, at 7:30 p.m., and Sun., June 19, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Visit cztheatre.com.

THE BALD SOPRANO Produced by the Community Players of Concord. The Hatbox Theatre (located inside the Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Fri., June 17 through Sun., June 26. Showtimes are on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for students, seniors and members and $16 for senior members. Visit hatboxnh.com or call 715-2315.

CLASSICAL

Events

•​ “IMAGES OF AMERICA THROUGH MUSIC AND ART” The Strafford Wind Symphony presents. Sat., June 18, 7 p.m. Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St., Rochester). Visit rochesteroperahouse.com or call 335-1992.

Getting back into the creative flow

Nashua art advocate’s work on exhibit at the library

When she wasn’t busy running Positive Street Art in Nashua, or working as the constituent services and cultural affairs coordinator in the city’s Office of the Mayor, Cecilia Ulibarri carved out some time in the past few years to work on her own art, including during an intense residency at the Factory on Willow in Manchester. The result of those efforts can be seen in her new exhibit, “Journeys of an Artist,” on display in the Nashua Public Library Art Gallery now through June 30.

“It has some of the pieces from when I first started through what I created through the residency,” Ulibarri said. “I thought it was kind of cool to show that journey of my role as an artist.”

She grew up with a family of artists so was always exposed to it, she said, but she never really took art seriously until she was about 30. And once she did, she found it challenging to share her work with others.

“Unless you’re part of [an artists’] group it was really hard to get in spaces if you didn’t have … traditional art,” she said. “A lot of my stuff is abstract contemporary.”

Ulibarri started with small shows at her home, then started to expand and became part of RAW Artist Collaborative from 2011 to 2014, showcasing in Boston and once in New York.

Also during that time, she met Manuel Ramirez — now her husband — and connected through art.

“We started wanting to do murals in town,” Ulibarri said. “We talked to a bunch of citizens, and it seemed like that was something the citizens would actually embrace.”

In 2012, the couple founded Positive Street Art, a Nashua nonprofit that is still beautifying the community today.

And then her own art fell by the wayside again.

“While I was building the nonprofit, I kind of got lost in my own workflow,” she said. “I would work most of the time while Manny was the lead artist on most of these murals, so I didn’t give myself time to create.”

More recently — and in large part because she had some extra time to slow down and think during the pandemic — Ulibarri realized she wanted to start making more time to create.

“I need to keep doing the things that make me happy and fulfill me,” she said.

She dove headfirst into the artists in residency program at the Factory on Willow; she and Ramirez did it together and stayed onsite in the Manchester space in order to get the full experience.

“I was so intimidated to get back into the creative flow and purge some of the ideas that I’d been holding on to,” Ulibarri said.

She said the Factory on Willow doesn’t dictate what you’re working on, but it does offer help and resources on whatever aspect of your art you want help with; Ramirez, for example, wanted to revamp his website. Ulibarri focused on her abstract art.

“I’m inspired by many things, and I don’t like to limit myself on my mediums on what I do,” she said. “I guess my creative flow just stems from shapes and colors and using the feelings that I’m having behind them transporting them onto canvas.”

Some of her works in the show feature new-to-her techniques.

“I fell in love with foils,” she said. “There’s just something about shiny things — it adds some luxury to it, and it just attracts the eye.”

There’s also a piece that layers wood pieces and resin, creating a kind of 3D effect that she hadn’t done before.

“I would like people to realize that abstract and contemporary art is more of a chance to be able to … look at themselves or feel through the art that they’re looking at, to really be able to experience it in a different way,” she said. “When you take yourself away from the heaviness of society … and really just connect with shapes and colors, really just feel the art … [it’s] a little bit deeper than just walking by [a piece] and saying, oh that’s a landscape.”

While the show is called “Journeys of an Artist,” Ulibarri said the average person might think it’s like looking at works from two different artists.

“I feel like we try to keep ourselves in a box, but I feel like that’s very limiting,” she said. “I like to take myself out of that box sometimes and get out of that comfort zone.”

Ulibarri was set to take another step out of her comfort zone on June 1, transitioning from president and cofounder of Positive Street Art to executive director. The organization just rented a larger space, and a grand opening is scheduled for June 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. at 48 Bridge St. Tickets are $30; find the event on PSA’s Facebook page.

“We’re creating [more] safe spaces for artists,” she said.

“Journeys of an Artist”
Where: Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St.
When: Now through June 30 anytime the library is open. There’s a Meet the Artist reception Thursday, June 2, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Visit: nashualibrary.org

Featured photo: Savoir Faire. Art by Cecilia Ulibarri. Courtesy photo.

Party in a pitcher

When we think of summer drinking, cocktails usually aren’t the first thing to spring to mind.

We imagine a friend tossing a cold can of beer to someone at a clam bake, or sharing a bottle of chardonnay on ice on the deck of your summer house in the Hamptons. (I assume that you are a fancier person than me; it sort of goes without saying.) Mixed drinks fall somewhat farther down on the list.

But when we do get to actual cocktails, I, at least, find myself thinking about pitcher drinks. The idea of sharing extremely cold drinks with a group of friends seems really appealing. So let’s look at five summer drinks that lend themselves to pitcher-izing.

Because drinking cocktails by the pitcher is a generally social activity, let’s look at some potential parties that don’t require a huge amount of effort but complement those drinks. At the same time, that intensity of socializing can be stressful for some people, so let’s also include two summer drinks that lend themselves to drinking quietly and alone.

Getting Started – How to Scale Up a Cocktail Recipe

At first glance, making drinks by the pitcher seems pretty straightforward — just multiply each ingredient by the number of people you want to serve.

As soon as you start to do that, however, things get confusing.

“I want to make five of these, but will they fit in that pitcher? And what about the ice? Is there some sort of formula to calculate the volume of ice cubes? Does pi get involved somewhere in there? HONEY? DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT PI IS?”

As it turns out, math is involved, but it’s friendly Schoolhouse Rock-type math, not the “Two trains leave the station traveling in opposite directions” type.

• First, get yourself a pitcher. I used a standard 60-ounce food service pitcher — the type you would get drinks in at most restaurants. I wanted to be authentic about all this, so I bought it at a restaurant supply store.

• Next, add ice. It doesn’t matter what type of ice you use at this point — the stuff your freezer makes for you, ice tray ice, novelty shaped ice from a silicone mold, block ice that you’ve attacked with an ice pick (and if you’ve never tried that before, I heartily recommend it) — any of it will work. Fill the pitcher up about 1/3 of the way with the ice of your choice.

• Just add water. Top your pitcher off with water. It doesn’t have to be to the extreme, worrying-about-spilling-it top — just fill it to the level that suits you. The amount of water you just added is the same volume as the drinks you will want to make in this pitcher.

• Measure the water. This is where the math comes in. Remain calm. Pour the water out into a separate container, so you can measure it. Use a kitchen strainer and another pitcher or a large bowl to hold the water. Now measure it.

I like to use a digital kitchen scale, because mine has an option to measure ingredients in milliliters. If you want to use a scale but it doesn’t have the milliliter option, grams will work just as well. (Important tip: If you are a pharmacist, grams and milliliters are not the same thing. If you’re cooking or mixing drinks at home, they pretty much are.)

Alternatively, measure the water with your largest measuring cup. If yours has measurements along one side in fluid ounces, you are golden. Just write down how many ounces of water you just poured out.

The rest of us will have to do some calculations.

For instance, according to my kitchen scale, the non-ice volume of my pitcher is 1,240 ml. A quick internet calculation — “Convert 1,240 ml to fluid ounces” — indicates that I’m looking at a final cocktail volume of around 42 fluid ounces.

pitcher partly filled with ice cubes
A pitcher with a drink-ready amount of ice. Photo by John Fladd.

Let’s say I’m making a pitcher of daiquiris. My recipe calls for two ounces of rum, an ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice, and ¾ of an ounce of simple syrup. That works out to 3.75 ounces.

Now the math. Are you ready?

Divide the big number by the small number.

That’s it.

42 divided by 3.75 equals 11.2. Let’s round that out to 11. (You are welcome to round up or down freely; you can make up any difference with more or less ice.)

Now I know that for a pitcher of this particular drink I’ll need to multiply each ingredient by 11. I’ll make each round of drinks in the pitcher, adding the ice last, to bring the volume up to where I want it.

Which means that it’s time for a party.

Party #1: A Piñata Party

When my wife and I got married, we decided to have a backyard cookout for our rehearsal dinner. My wife planned the menu, chose the music, cooked five or six different side dishes, coordinated parking and got hotel rooms — in distantly separate hotels — for my parents.

I bought a piñata.

In my defense, the piñata was a solid call. My friends and family exist in a swamp of anxiety and social awkwardness that would intimidate the reed marshes of the Nile Delta. It was somewhat inevitable that at some point one of my friends would tell an off-color joke to a nun, or my mother would have a “just-being-honest” moment. If — OK, when — things got tense, I could shout out, “Hey, everybody! It’s piñata time!” We’d break open a piñata, people would be distracted, and we could quietly shuffle the conversation groups around.

I bought a piñata shaped like a large, red parrot. Because this was a special occasion, I went to a chocolate store and bought a couple hundred round, foil-wrapped truffles, and filled Polly pretty much to the top. I put her on the stairs leading up from the basement, where she would stay cool but we wouldn’t forget her.

On the day of the rehearsal, my soon-to-be father-in-law kept tripping over the parrot. He didn’t know what it was, but he knew it was in his way, so he relocated it to the kitchen counter, where he wouldn’t have to deal with it.

The piñata was now in my soon-to-be mother-in-law’s way, so she tasked my 6-year-old nephew with finding someplace to put it. He put it in the only empty space he could find — in the sun on the deck.

To make a long story short – several hours later, things did get awkward and tense at the dinner. I did announce “piñata time!” My new brother-in-law laid into the piñata with an awesome move he’d seen in a samurai movie. The piñata burst, splattering everyone at the party with melted chocolate. My wife’s maid of honor made a joke about “parrot blood” and a small child cried so hard that she did that dancing-in-place thing that only truly traumatized kids can do.

So, what I’m saying is that I’m a big fan of piñatas. And as such, I’d like to put in a word for making your own.

(1) Professionally made piñatas are built like dump trucks. They are almost impossible for casual, perhaps slightly inebriated, party-goers to break with a stick. This makes sense when you consider that they have to survive shipping from the piñata factory intact. If you make your own out of papier mâché, you can make it as fragile as you like.

(2) The hole in a standard piñata is about the size of a golf ball, which severely limits creative stuffing options. If you make your own piñata, you can leave a large access hole, fill it, then paper over the hole. In the reference photo to the right, I have filled my partially completed piñata with a copy of the Mr. Boston Bartending Guide, 10 pairs of socks and a can of chickpeas, with enough room left over for a live cat. [Editor’s note: This is just a fanciful amount-of-space descriptor. Do not attempt to put a live cat in a piñata. Don’t @ us, cats.]

What drink accompanies a piñata?

A margarita is a summertime classic; a cucumber one, doubly so. There are only three ingredients in this, so you will probably want to splurge on a decent tequila. The bar in Albuquerque where I first had this suggested Hornitos. Who am I to argue with them? This is a pitcher-drink natural.

One Cucumber Margarita

  • 3 slices (~45 grams) cucumber with skin
  • 2 ounces Blanco tequila – I prefer Hornitos
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ ounce cucumber syrup (see below)

Muddle the cucumber slices thoroughly in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.

Add ice, lime juice, syrup and tequila. Shake until very cold.

Strain into a chilled rocks or margarita glass.

A Pitcher of Cucumber Margarita

  • 1 medium cucumber, unpeeled and sliced – about 300 grams.
  • 22 ounces blanco tequila – roughly 3 cups
  • 11 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 7 ounces cucumber syrup – one scant cup

Muddle the cucumber slices in the bottom of your pitcher. I use the pestle from my largest mortar and pestle — it’s about the size of a billy club — but a potato masher would work well, too.

Add the lime juice, syrup and tequila. Stir gently but thoroughly. Top the pitcher off with ice, and stir again.

This pitcher recipe is deliberately a little intense. If you prepare it about 20 minutes before serving, the ice will dilute it just enough. It will be perfect.

Cucumber Syrup

Ingredients

  • Equal amounts, by weight, of cucumbers and white sugar. Any type of cucumber — whatever makes you happy, or is threatening to take over your garden.

Wash, but don’t peel, the cucumber. Chop it to a medium dice.

Freeze the cucumber chunks for an hour or so. Ice crystals will form and perforate the cell walls inside the cucumber, making it more enthusiastic about giving up its juice.

Combine the frozen cucumber and sugar in a saucepan, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As it thaws, the cucumber will start giving off a surprising amount of liquid. You really won’t need to add any water.

As more liquid appears, mash the cucumber with a potato masher, just to encourage the process along.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and let it boil for 15 or 20 more seconds, to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved into solution.

Remove the pan from heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.

Mash with the potato masher one more time, then strain and bottle.

This isn’t actually a step, but have some of this cucumber syrup on your yogurt. You will start smiling at people in traffic.

pitcher and glass filled with cucumber margarita beside plate of cake
Cucumber Margarita and Tres Leches Cake. Photo by John Fladd.

Julia Child once said that any party without cake is just a meeting. She was very wise.

If you aren’t familiar with Tres Leches Cake, you are in for the dessert ride of your life. It is the Prince of Cakes and a perfect accompaniment to our margarita and piñata.

Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 boxed yellow cake mix + ingredients needed to bake it.
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) half & half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • simple syrup to taste

Prepare the boxed cake mix according to instructions, in a 9×13” pan.

Allow it to cool thoroughly.

Using skewers or sharp chopsticks, poke holes in the cake, every ½ inch or so.

Mix evaporated milk, condensed milk and half & half together in a large measuring cup.

Pour over the cake, still in its pan. It will puddle on top; do not panic. The cake will eventually absorb all three milks (todos de tres leches).

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least eight hours. This cake is at its best ice-cold. The extra time in the fridge will also allow the cake and milk mixture to meld at an almost philosophical level.

Just before serving, whip the heavy cream with just enough simple syrup to be lightly sweet. Cover the cake with the whipped cream.

“Wait a second!” you say. “That’s not tres leches! The whipped cream makes it cuatro leches!”

And you’re right, of course. Nevertheless, whether or not this cake is misnamed, you will become a convert after your first — then your inevitable second, third, etc. — bite.

Do you remember mushing birthday cake together with vanilla ice cream when you were a kid? The mixture of cake and ice cream was one of the best parts of going to a birthday party. This is like that — only thought out and designed to provide the perfect cake-to-dairy ratio. The slightly stodgy sweetness of the cake is balanced by the ice-cold milk glaze that you have soaked it with. If you use a light hand with sugar syrup in the whipped cream, you will balance the in-your-face nature of the dairy-soaked cake with something unexpected: subtlety.

Party #2: A Tomato Brunch

Burrata is the piñata of cheese.

Imagine a shiny, white, perfectly smooth ball of mozzarella, sitting modestly on a plate.

Now, imagine an Italian hand model — let’s call her Bianca — picking up a silver serving knife, and gently but firmly cutting into it, revealing an inside filled with cream and a fluffy über-cheese called stracciatella.

We might stand in a mild state of shocked wonder, and think vaguely about asking for some of this burrata — because that is what it is called, burrata — but we wait just a little too long and miss our window of opportunity. Bianca deftly transfers the burrata — mozzarella, stracciatella and all — to a serving platter and carries it out to the balcony, where a count in a tweed jacket waits for her.

Steven Freeman thinks about this sort of thing a lot. Freeman is the owner of Angela’s Pasta and Cheese Shop in Manchester, and he takes burrata very seriously. Even more so the stracciatella that it is filled with.

“If you love burrata, you will lust after stracciatella,” he assures me.

He is feeling extremely ardent about stracciatella at the moment, because after many, many months of trying to get his hands on some, he has finally tracked down a source and has started selling it in his store. He assures me that if I were to eat fresh stracciatella with perfectly ripe tomatoes and pink salt, I might reassess some of my priorities in life.

I buy some stracciatella and hunt down a really good tomato. I take the pair home, thank the tomato for the sacrifice it is about to make, then slice it up and spoon some of the cheese onto it.

pitcher and glass containing bloody mary beside a plate of sliced tomatoes and stracciatella.
Bloody Maria served with sliced tomatoes and stracciatella. Photo by John Fladd.

Freeman wasn’t lying.

I mean, I’m not going to quit my job and abandon my family to run off with a pint of Italian cheese or anything, but it is very, very good. It is intensely creamy and is perfectly set off by the acidity of the tomato.

Which reminds me that we are only a month or so away from tomato season and when the really good tomatoes hit the farmers markets, we should have a tomato party. Or in this case, a brunch.

For the food, I suggest tomatoes, olives and cheese. Perhaps some pumpernickel toast, if you are feeling especially adventurous.

For the beverage, there is really only one logical candidate, when you think about it: bloody marys, or bloody marias, in this case. Contrasting fresh, ripe tomatoes with a perfectly seasoned glass of tomato juice with a hint of tequila in the background will make for an excellent accompaniment to nice people and good conversation.

One Bloody Maria

  • 2 ounces Blanco tequila – again, I prefer Hornitos
  • 4 ounces freshly squeezed tomato juice (see below)
  • ½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
  • A pinch of celery salt
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake vigorously, for longer than you normally would — at least one full minute — to make sure the miso dissolves completely.

Pour into a tall glass and for the sake of all that is good and decent in the Universe, please do not garnish the glass with 72 items. They would only distract from the tomato-ness of the situation.

If you have gotten a decent batch of tomatoes, sitting with pleasant company and actually paying attention to your bloody maria will be a bit of a revelation. A perfectly ripe tomato (see below) is a complex and beautiful fruit. Its natural sweetness and acidity will play off the savoriness of the miso and the bite of heat from your hot sauce.

A Pitcher of Bloody Marias

  • 14 ounces Blanco tequila – 1¾ cups
  • 28 ounces fresh squeezed tomato juice (see below)
  • 3½ ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3½ Tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 3½ teaspoons miso paste
  • 3½ teaspoons hot sauce of your choice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt

If you have a very large jar with a tight-fitting lid, add all the ingredients to that, then seal and shake it vigorously. If you do not own such a jar, add all the ingredients to your pitcher, then blend briefly with an immersion blender. If you do not own a large jar or an immersion blender, add all the ingredients to your pitcher, then mix vigorously with a whisk.

If you have not done so yet, transfer the mixture to your pitcher, then top it off with ice.

Serve in tall glasses and drink while listening to Herb Alpert.

Homemade Tomato Juice

To make the really good stuff, you’re going to have to search through the farmers market for the right person. You can look over the tomatoes themselves, but ultimately you are going to have to put your fate in the hands of the person selling them.

Establish your credentials by telling them that you are making bloody marys — specifically, bloody marias. He or she will nod, unsmiling, at you. If they ask how many tomatoes you want, get six pounds. That sounds like a lot, but it is what you need.

The tomatoes you get will not be pretty, but like the person you chose to sell them to you, they have seen some things. These will be tomatoes with some mileage on them.

How to juice your tomatoes:

Wash your tomatoes, but don’t bother to core or peel them.

Working in batches if you have to, blitz them in your blender.

Strain them through a fine-mesh strainer.

In a large pot, bring the tomato juice and two teaspoons of salt to a boil.

Remove from heat and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Tomatoes have a naturally occurring enzyme that kills off a lot of their flavor if they are exposed to cold temperatures. Bringing the juice to a boil neutralizes those enzymes and allows some of the more subtle flavors of the tomatoes to remain, even after chilling.

Party #3: A French Fry Party

Last year, we threw a french fry party.

It was supposed to celebrate a crop of really spectacular potatoes that I had raised over the summer, but the potatoes had other ideas and we ended up just buying potatoes and frying them ourselves. The party was extremely successful, but custom-frying that many potatoes turned out to be extremely labor-intensive.

cocktail in tall glass on plate filled with french fries and tater tots.
French 75 served with your guests’ french fry favorites. Photo by John Fladd.

So I’ve had an idea: We invite extremely nice and cool people — more or less the same friends we had over last year — but each of them needs to bring a bag of their favorite frozen potatoes and an air fryer if they have one. We set up air fryers at strategic points around the kitchen and dining room, and each guest can make their own custom french fry mixture — hypothetically, a combination of shoelace fries, tater tots and smiley-face fries.

And to drink? A couple of years ago, a major Champagne producer announced that the perfect drink pairing with french fries is — surprise, surprise — Champagne.

I’ll buy that — I can see where a Champagne enthusiast would really like the contrast of the cold, dry bubbly and the hot, salty fries — but I think we can take things a step further, to a classic cocktail called a French 75. Champagne still plays a lead role, but it is backed up by gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. In this iteration I’ve subbed out the simple syrup for a slightly less simple rhubarb syrup, which adds an extra element of complexity to this drink and gives it a pretty, pink color.

One French 75

  • 1 ounce dry gin – I like Wiggly Bridge for this
  • ½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce rhubarb syrup (see below)
  • 3 ounces Champagne

In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice and rhubarb syrup, over ice. Shake vigorously.

Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne.

Feel very classy as you drink this, in between snarfing down your fries.

A Large-ish Batch of French 75s

It is totally possible to prepare this drink ahead of time, at least partially, but it requires some more math. A single French 75 calls for three ounces of Champagne. A standard bottle of sparkling wine contains 750 milliliters, or just over 25 fluid ounces. That means that we should prepare enough non-Champagne mixture for eight cocktails for every bottle of Champagne.

  • 8 ounces dry gin
  • 4 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 ounces rhubarb syrup (see below)
  • 1 bottle Brut Champagne

Using a funnel, fill an empty bottle — a fancy decanter, if you have one — with the gin, lemon juice and rhubarb syrup. Cap and shake to combine.

Chill for several hours, or overnight.

To serve, pour two ounces of the mixture into each Champagne flute, then top with Champagne.

Rhubarb Syrup

Wash, then chop fresh rhubarb to a medium dice, then freeze overnight. Alternatively, buy pre-frozen, pre-chopped rhubarb.

In a saucepan, combine the frozen rhubarb and an equal amount (by weight) of white sugar and a pinch of salt.

Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, to fully dissolve any sugar into solution.

Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes.

Strain and bottle. This should keep in your refrigerator for about a month.

Party #4: Scorpion Bowl for One

“This is all well and good,” you might say, “if I were a Party Person. I used to think I liked parties, but at this point in my life, after a long week at work, the only socializing I want to do is with my houseplants.”

That’s a fair point. Let’s see what we can do for you.

small teapot filled with cocktail and 2 straws, on table with candle, plant and stack of books
A Scorpion Bowl for One (and maybe your houseplant). Photo by John Fladd.

Many of us went through a phase in our youth of ordering absurd numbers of absurd drinks. Perhaps the most absurd of those drinks was the Scorpion Bowl.

Scorpion Bowls — a mixture of fruit juices and injudicious amounts of alcohol — were always served in elaborate bowls with several straws. The conceit of the cocktail is that it was supposed to be shared with a group of friends. In point of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen anyone sharing one.

But can we re-engineer a Scorpion Bowl to bring that same sense of adventure to an evening with the houseplants, without the dread of danger that accompanied it in our youth?

A Traditional Scorpion Bowl

  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 4 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1½ ounces simple syrup, or better yet, rhubarb syrup (see above)
  • 2 ounces orgeat (almond syrup)
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 4 ounces dry gin
  • 4 ounces golden rum

Divide the amount of ice that you would normally put in your pitcher in half. Put one half in your pitcher.

Add all the ingredients to the ice in your pitcher.

Wrap your remaining ice in a tea towel. Beat it mercilessly with a blunt object, until the ice is shattered into several different-sized pieces.

Add the brutalized ice to your pitcher and stir to combine all ingredients together.

Pour into a large bowl or flower vase and garnish with several oversized straws to help sell the lie that this will be shared.

A Scorpion Bowl for One

  • ⅔ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1⅓ ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ ounce simple or rhubarb syrup (see above)
  • ⅔ ounce orgeat (almond syrup)
  • ⅔ ounce brandy
  • 1⅓ ounces dry gin
  • 1⅓ ounces golden rum

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.

Wrap 15 or so ice cubes in a tea towel and shatter them with a blunt object.

Add the shattered ice to the shaker and shake your cocktail thoroughly.

Pour unstrained into a tiki glass or other whimsical container. Drink with one straw.

The genius of a Scorpion Bowl is that someone very carefully made a list of classic Tiki drink ingredients and chose seven that complement each other beautifully. The limes are sour and acidic. The oranges are sweet and acidic. The syrups smooth out the acidity, which in turn keeps the syrups from making things sickly sweet. Almond is a classic, get-along-with-everybody ingredient and serves as a bridge between the different liquors, which might not get along with each other otherwise.

Party #5: Just You and Jackie O’

“Alas,” I hear you sigh. “Even that is a little more intense than I was looking for. I want something I can enjoy with a good book in the hours after I load the kids on the bus to summer camp. Do you have anything like that?”

drink in glass with ice, on plate with two strawberries
The Jackie O’s Rose, for a quiet moment. Photo by John Fladd.

As it happens, I do. Let’s set you up with a Jackie O’s Rose.

Think of this as a rose-kissed daiquiri. It’s a combination of standard daiquiri ingredients — white rum, simple syrup and lime juice — with a drop or two of orange curacao and a hint of rose water. The lime and the rum are extremely refreshing, and the rose water makes it a tiny bit exotic. It’s a very good sitting-by-yourself cocktail. It asks nothing of you. It just sits with you and enjoys your company.

Jackie O’s Rose

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • ½ ounce orange curacao
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon rose water

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake with ice.

Pour into any glass you choose. Strain the ice out if you want to, or leave it in. This is a very undemanding drink.

Drink in calm and silence.

A Pitcher of Jackie O’s Rose

  • 20 ounces white rum
  • 5 ounces orange curacao
  • 10 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 5 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 ounce rose water

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher.

Top with ice.

Stir.

Serve in a variety of glasses and teacups.

Yes, I know. You wanted to be alone. But what if you’ve got four friends who want to sit quietly with you?

It pays to be prepared.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

This Week 22/06/02

Big Events June 2, 2022 and beyond

Thursday, June 2

Catch the third of six games between the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the Portland Sea Dogs at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in downtown Manchester tonight at 6:35 p.m. Tonight’s game (as well as the game on Saturday, June 4) will feature post-game fireworks. Tomorrow’s game starts at 6:03 p.m. as part of “603 night” honoring the 603 (Friday will also feature a foam NH State giveaway). The team will also play a game Sunday, June 5, at 1:35 p.m. Saturday’s game will also feature an appreciation for Manchester’s culinary history when the team rebrands for one night as the Manchester Chicken Tenders, according to milb.com/new-hampshire.

Thursday, June 2

The Nashua Silver Knights will play the second of four consecutive home games at Holman Stadium (67 Amherst St. in Nashua) tonight at 6 p.m. against the Brockton Rox. Like the F-Cats, tomorrow’s Silver Knights game will also start at 6:03 p.m. (they will face off against the New Britain Bees and the game will feature post-game fireworks). The game on Saturday, June 4, against the Westfield Starfires starts at 6 p.m. See nashuasilverknights.com.

Friday, June 3

The Palace Theatre presents Legally Blonde, the, like, totally Tony-nominated musical based on the 2001 film, starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The comedy musical, which tells the story of sorority girl Elle Woods, who heads to law school at Harvard after being dumped by her boyfriend, runs through Sunday, June 26, at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org). The show runs on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at noon.

Saturday, June 4

Today is Free Fishing Day in New Hampshire. Fish in freshwater or saltwater without a license and see if angling is for you. Season rules and bag limits still apply, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Website (wildlife.state.nh.us), where you can find a listing of fish stocking locations and the current fish seasons.

Saturday, June 4

It’s another Saturday in plant sale season!

Today, head to the Derry Garden Club’s sale starting at 9 a.m. at Robert Frost Farm (Route 28 in Derry). Pick up some annuals, perennials, used tools, raffles and advice from two master gardeners, according to a press release, which discussed the methods the club has used to “eliminate any chance of ‘jumping worms’ being transferred.”

The Hooksett Garden Club is also holding its plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon at R&R Public Wholesalers (1371 Hooksett Road in Hooksett). In addition to annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and houseplants there will be a garden-themed yard sale, raffle items, master gardeners available to answer questions and a children’s table, according to an email from the club.

Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum (18 Highlawn Road in Warner; indianmuseum.org) is holding its plant sale to correspond with Herb & Garden Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Herb & Garden Day (see nhherbalnetwork.wordpress.com/herbday) will feature workshops, vendors and more. All-access admission to Herb and Garden Day costs $35; admission to the market only costs $5.

Admission to the museum’s plant sale is free to attend.

Save the Date! Saturday, June 18
The Brooks Young Band will play the Bank of NH Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord; ccanh.com) on Saturday, June 18, at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets in advance cost $15 general admission, $25 for reserved balcony (plus fees); tickets are $2 extra at the door. Valerie Barretto opens.

Featured photo. Legally Blonde. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 22/06/02

Record funds raised to fight homelessness

“Better Together” was the theme of the Front Door Agency’s largest fundraiser, the Gourmet Festival & Auction, which returned in person for the first time since 2019 and raised more than $238,000 in net proceeds, making it the most successful fundraiser in Front Door Agency’s 35-year history. According to a press release, the event was held May 15 at the Nashua Country Club, and more than 300 people turned out to bid on hundreds of auction items and enjoy food from local restaurants and chefs. Proceeds will help the agency fight homelessness in Greater Nashua this year, including through its Transformational Housing Program for single mothers who are working to become self-sufficient.

Score: +1

Comment: At the event, Tasha, one of the mothers in the Transformational Housing Program, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to pursue her degree in Safety Management, the release said.

Earning bikes for an active summer

One hundred forty elementary school students in Manchester can now have healthier, more active summers, after receiving either a new refurbished bicycle package or an athletic equipment package. According to a press release, the Earn-A-Bike Program was created in 2015 by the Manchester Community Schools Project in collaboration with QC Bike Collective, Gossler Park Elementary School and Beech Street Elementary School, allowing students to earn bikes by demonstrating academic achievement and leadership skills. Last week, fourth- and fifth-graders had the chance to pick out a bike, a helmet, lights and a lock; those who already had a bike could get a sports package that included either a soccer ball or a basketball, a pump and other sports items.

Score: +1

Comment: The Manchester Police Department participated in the program by providing bike registrations for all the bikes, the release said.

Yep, it’s tick season

Deer ticks, which carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, are already making themselves known this season. According to a press release from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, New Hampshire residents are reporting finding ticks outside, on themselves and on their pets, so it’s key to know what the potential signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are. “The classic Lyme disease symptom is an expanding, flat rash that often looks like a bull’s-eye,” Jeffrey Parsonnet, M.D., a physician at Dartmouth, said in the release. “Other symptoms are flu-like — aches, stiffness, fatigue — and might develop five to seven days after receiving a bite. More advanced disease might cause swollen joints, infection of nerves responsible for heart rhythm regulation, or neurologic disorders like Bell’s palsy … pain in limbs or, rarely, brain infection.”

Score: -2

Comment: There are ways to stay safe, including staying covered with long pants, long sleeves and socks when outdoors; using bug spray containing DEET; doing checks of your entire body after being outdoors; and removing ticks immediately, the release said.

QOL score: 76

Net change: 0

QOL this week: 76

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